Is My Dream God's Will?
exploring whether there are differences
As soon as we begin looking at ourselves, at what might be a Dream we have for our lives, obstacles start springing up.
As women who take their faith seriously, who want to live out a life that is rooted in God’s purposes for us, an inevitable obstacle to moving forward in our Dream is the question of whether or not our Dream coincides with God’s will for our lives.
### Our Dream vs his will
The question of whether these two can be the same, or if they must necessarily look different, leads us to different perspectives and opinions on the will of God in general. Is it very specific for each person (this job not that one, this person is the only one for you) or is it very general (Love God and love others, and that’s it)?
Or is it somewhere in between?
Can our Dream for our life, the one we’ve “cooked up” in our own minds, be the same as God’s purpose for us, or is our tendency toward self-will and selfishness always going to lead us astray?
### Two different responses
For some of us, the thought that God's will might not coincide with our Dream causes us to hold God at a safe distance. We want to hold onto our choices and our autonomy, so we try not to think too much about what God might want, and we pursue our own decisions.
Others of us, in fear that we might ruin our lives by straying from the path God has determined for us, refuse to even look at our own desires.
Obviously the first response is going to shortchange not only the relationship that we can have with God, but also the blessing of knowing that we are partnering with Him to love the world and build the kingdom. We don't want that.
But the problem with the second response, in which we think "all God and none of me" is that once we start thinking about God's will for our life, we don't really know how to identify it.
I am makes a difference?
Recognizing who we are allows us to start to see the picture of God's will for us, even if it's not the whole picture. When we don't know ourselves we don't understand the unique gifting that is part of our calling.
Often when we refuse to do the work to understand our own desires it's because we're afraid that if we acknowledge our own desires, even to ourselves, we'll have to automatically give them up, and we'll be disappointed. As though God is waiting for us to know what we want, so He can step in and snatch it away.
But it's difficult, trying to figure out how our Dream and God's will come together. It's a little scary to look at the question of whether we're being selfish, or whether thinking about our own desires is part of discovering God's will.
why do we make it so hard
God's will is often considered to be elusive, without practical steps on how to find it.
But is it possible that the closer we get to understanding the gifts, strengths, and personalities God has given us, the closer we are to understanding the life God created us to live?
In Impactivity, we challenge women to look at three circles filled with truths about themselves to begin to understand the Dream that God is bringing to pass inside them. (For more on these three circles, see the resource below.) The intersection of these three circles of gifts, passion, and the needs of the world begins to open us up to the possibility that there might be something we are uniquely created to do.
But this unique purpose does not represent such a narrow line of "God's will" that we will make mistakes if we stray from it. These are areas of opportunities that He's giving us, and the areas where He's specifically gifted us to step into these opportunities.
this is where it gets good
Something amazing happens when we open ourselves up to a Dream that is closely aligned with the gifts and heart God has given us. When we are pursuing a Dream that incorporates those things, it allows us to go farther than if we were struggling along, forcing a "life purpose" we didn't enjoy.
Even though we will certainly be called to grow and face challenges in these areas, our willingness to grow in areas that we enjoy, where we want to learn and improve, gives us the motivation and strength to push through the difficult times. There are always parts of our Dream that are not easy or even enjoyable, but because there's an inherent gifting underneath all of it, placed inside of us by God, we are propelled forward even through the hard times.
The best way to get things done is to be driven by joy. Not by deadlines, not by fear and not by other people's opinions. We're driven by joy because we're doing something we're so uniquely qualified and gifted to do, that it's the sweet spot for us.
the first step
We need to stop pushing away thoughts of God's will because we fear it might not overlap with ours, or even pushing away our own will because it might not overlap with God's. It's time to realize that there's a very good chance that our Dream for our lives probably does overlap with who God has made us to be, because that's why we have those specific ideas and gifts in the first place.
Because the truth is, understanding ourselves is really the first step to knowing God's will for us. It doesn't seem like it would be true, but it is. Looking at our own desires allows us to bring those things before God to ask Him how to better use them to serve His kingdom and His purpose. It's not until we actually understand what we want, where we excel, and the ideas we care about that we can actually take them before Him and say "Here are all of my tools and my resources. How do you want to use them? What does that look like?"
Starting here is not self-oriented or selfish. We're not coming to God saying, "This is my plan and you'd better bless it." We're coming with an open-handed offering of our small gift, our little basket of loaves and fish, asking how He wants to use it for His glory and to build His kingdom.
But it is our basket, our loaves and fish - uniquely our own.
The spiritual gifts are not so much gifts to us, as they are gifts for us to give to others. We must look at our gifts, talents, personality, all the things we're equipped with, and seek to understand the best way we can give these out to the world, alongside of God and His plan for people. This understanding allows us to fully step into our Dream, without the fear of making it all about us. But we can also see that we're going to enjoy it. It's not going to be completely outside of what we want for our lives. All of this brings joy.
are you refusing
If you're avoiding bringing your deep desires for your life into the light out of a fear, then you are ignoring something that God formed inside of you intentionally.
Yes, we worry that our Dream might not align with what God wants for us. But think about the people you know that are living what you believe to be an extraordinary life. Are they robotic followers of a generic idea of God's will? Or are they living all-out, living inside the gifts and the heart that God has uniquely given them?
Talk with God In an open dialogue about what you would really love for your life. Ask if He perhaps made you uniquely for that, or if it's at least within the boundaries of who He created you to be, one of the choices He's offering you as a way to partner with Him in the world, to build His kingdom.
your best next step
go more in-depth with this topic
Take yourself through a short process of identifying truth about how God has uniquely created you for a purpose, and figuring out what that purpose might be.See the Dream Circles Exercise
move forward on your adventure
Take this 28-question quiz with personalized results to find time to pursue your unique, God-given adventure. What score will you get?Take the Unshackle Quiz